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(BBC)   The Office beats Fawlty Towers as Brits choose the funniest sitcom of all time. Somehow, Friends beat out Monty Python on the same list   (news.bbc.co.uk) divider line 374
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14934 clicks; posted to Main » on 07 Mar 2005 at 12:24 AM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2005-03-07 12:48:07 PM
Anyone remember the show that was on MTV? or the Comedy Channel after they stopped showing "The Young Ones"? I think it was "The Comic Strip Presents..." and had Rik Mayal & co.

It was pretty funny.
 
2005-03-07 12:48:45 PM
I thought the apartment was rent controlled, and only 2 bedrooms.

Oh my Tony, you're right.

/changes......NOTHING
 
2005-03-07 12:49:25 PM
Fawlty Towers, The Office, The Young Ones, Futurama - some of the best TV series ever made.

Yes, I just wanted to include Futurama because it rocks.

I urinate on, and in the general direction of all those who disagree.
 
2005-03-07 12:50:50 PM
Fawlt towers waldorf salad ep is the best sitcom ep ever.

"u started it"
"no we didnt, u invaded poland."

LMFAO
/trust me, ude have had to c it :D
 
2005-03-07 12:56:04 PM
Many of the people you know are like the characters from the Monty Python sketches?

Morans who can't seem to step beyond bathroom humor?


Note: I didn't say I like Friends, I actually hate Friends, but a lot more people get the jokes with Friends than with garbage like Python.
 
2005-03-07 12:56:10 PM
Oh my Tony, you're right.

/changes......NOTHING


Just keeping the facts straight. You can attack Friends for not being realistic enough for your tastes, or for not being able to relate, but I would wager that over the 7 years, they covered one or more relationship/parental/friend issue that most people have had.


/though it's not a popular opinion, I strongly believe that Friends had great writing, from start to finish.
 
2005-03-07 01:11:29 PM
I think that for the most part bitish comedy is better.
This may be in part due to the American invention of the "Laugh Track". A lot of the time I find myself laughing at stuff I normally wouldn't find funny. Damn you laugh track!

My list would go (not in any order)

Monty python
simpsons
sienfeld
southpark
family guy
blackadder
fawlty towers
Men behaving badly
Parker Lewis Can't lose
Curb your enthusiasm
Mr. Show

Friends is the most unfunny piece of shiat on Television. I hate that garbage show and anyone who tunes into it. To quote Chris Rock. "I don't know any straight man who watches friends"

/Don't mind me, I'm from Barcelona
 
2005-03-07 01:11:57 PM
FRIENDS #5?

My eyes, the goggles do nothing!
 
2005-03-07 01:13:05 PM
BBCAmerica-aholic. Here is mine:

1. Men Behaving Badly
2. Black Adder (all of them)
3. Keeping Up Apperances
4. Are You Being Served?
5. Faulty Towers
6. Father Ted
7. The Office
8. Little Brittain
9. The Young Ones
10. Benny Hill
 
2005-03-07 01:13:49 PM
HippyTreeHugger

Fawlt towers waldorf salad ep is the best sitcom ep ever.

"u started it"
"no we didnt, u invaded poland."


If yer gonna quote Fawlty Towers scripture, get it right!

That's THE GERMANS episode
 
2005-03-07 01:17:25 PM
1. the office
2. curb your enthusiasm
3. seinfeld
4. ali g
5. mr show
 
2005-03-07 01:22:13 PM

Oh, Adam Quark, we hardly knew ye.
Oh, Betty1 and Betty2, how we fapped to ye.
 
2005-03-07 01:22:32 PM
HippyTreeHugger

Fawlt towers waldorf salad ep is the best sitcom ep ever.

"u started it"
"no we didnt, u invaded poland."

If yer gonna quote Fawlty Towers scripture, get it right!

That's THE GERMANS episode
----------------------------------

The quote is also incorrect.
 
2005-03-07 01:26:59 PM
Also, the 'Friends is better than Monty Python' comment is one of the most extraordinary and untruest things I have ever read.
 
2005-03-07 01:31:57 PM
 
2005-03-07 01:36:45 PM
I forgot NEWSRADIO

the late Phil Hartman's Character was hilarious.
OOh and anyone whoi considers friends to be even close to Monty Python is brainless.
 
2005-03-07 01:38:45 PM
I don't know. A whole lot of hatred for Friends here today. I suspect much of it is either because it's cool to hate Friends, or because it was so well liked by the public.


I'm not saying it was the best sitcom ever, but there are certainly 100s of sitcoms worse. It had consistantly good, sharp writing, and usually was good for at least one laugh out load moment for any given show.
 
2005-03-07 01:42:03 PM
For the record I have always hated friends, the writing is cheap and deviod of any intelligence. I am sorry but if you remove the laugh track and the atractive 20 somethings, what you are left with isn't much.

Cheap laughs, and hot biatches = Lowest common denominator
 
2005-03-07 01:43:14 PM
"If yer gonna quote Fawlty Towers scripture, get it right!"

I'm also pretty sure the script wasn't actually typed:

"u started it"
"no we didnt, u invaded poland."
 
2005-03-07 01:46:10 PM
vid, I forgot about "Made in Canada." I used to watch it every day at this very time on CBC. It was a great show, and I wish it was on DVD.

Not much mention of "Arrested Development" so far, which surprises me. It's a great show.

For example:
Tobias: You know, mother Lucille, there's a psychological concept known as denial that I believe you're evincing. It's when a thought is so painful that the mind literally rejects it.
Lucille: You are a worse psychiatrist than you are a son-in-law, and you will never get work as an actor because you have no talent.
Tobias: Well, if she's not going to say anything I certainly can't help her.
 
2005-03-07 01:46:55 PM
I started Fawlty Towers earlier this week, I'm off to enjoy the last three episodes...


number 8 is dead!
 
2005-03-07 01:51:11 PM
For the record I have always hated friends, the writing is cheap and deviod of any intelligence. I am sorry but if you remove the laugh track and the atractive 20 somethings, what you are left with isn't much.


I think you're way off, but fair enough. So can you explain to me why you love NewsRadio and hate Friends? Arguably similar writing, both sitcoms.
 
2005-03-07 01:53:19 PM
Hebalo, I think the difference isn't in the writing, but in the characters themselves. On "Friends" they had little depth to them.
 
2005-03-07 01:55:02 PM
There are so MANY types of humor.You can't compare Jazz to Rock to Classical.
Parody,lampoon,slapstick,absurdist and or whatever.They are ALL vastly differing forms of comedy.All good.

Other greats:(in no order)

SCTV
AUSTIN STORIES
GET A LIFE--this show was idiotic...intentionally.
TWILIGHT THEATRE--somewhat obscure 80s latenight.
THE STATE
VIVA VARIETY
UPRIGHT CITIZENS BRIGADE--"Hot Sluts Room!"
 
2005-03-07 02:00:00 PM
The quote may be off, but its been a while since I saw the episode....

Manuel: "He hit me!"
Major: "No, you hit him, you naughty moose!"

/Grew up on Fawlty Towers and Monty Python
//"I know nothing!"
 
2005-03-07 02:00:21 PM
If women were banned from voting in polls like this, Friends would be nowhere to be seen.
 
2005-03-07 02:03:03 PM
vid: "Bah! Before "The Office", there was "Made In Canada" "

Truly a great show. But there's more to the story. 'Made in Canada' (aired as 'The Industry' on Bravo in the US), in many ways, can trace it's lineage to 'The Newsroom' (which has been mentioned here several times, available on DVD, BTW).

So much so that, Peter Keleghan (The annoyingly self absorbed boss Alan Roy) was also in 'The Newsroom' as - You guessed it - The annoyingly dimwitted self-absorbed network anchor Jim Walcott. In that show, he also happens to get upstaged by series creator and star Ken Finkleman, whose George Findlay character is a direct ancestor of David Brent. 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' fans will find Finkleman's particular brand of facination with minutae very familiar as well.

That said, I think that all of these shows also owe a debt of gratitude to "The Larry Sanders Show', the true pioneer of the genre, as far as I'm concerned. They've all made a career of building a crazy universe around the machinations of one central, self-absorbed character involved in the entertainment industry. If you like any of the series that I've named here, it's worth your time to seek out the rest- you won't be disappointed.

Now that the history lesson is over, I'd like to add my plug for Corner Gas. It has all of the humour of the above shows, plus more. It doesn't revolve around that particular cynicism that these shows have- It is a fundamentally warm-hearted show, without a single malicious character in it. Every character is capable of their own levels of self-absorption, good, evil, and idiocy. More importantly, it's that idiocy that helps form their community, which is something that we can all relate to (even just as Farkers). I don't laugh out loud easily, but there's always at least 10-15 jokes in every 22 minute episode that get a snort out of me, which is a pretty solid snort-per-minute average. There is a lot of regional humour in it ('you know how I feel about the CFL jokes, Brent'), but I doubt that that will curtail teh funnay.

Available on DVD at www.cornergas.com. I can't recommend it highly enough. No, I don't have a stake in it, I'm pimping it out of love.

BTW - for regular CG viewers: The new cliche amongst my friends (when you have a brain fart) is:

Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Bananarama!

Possibly the single funniest moment on a sitcom I've seen.
 
2005-03-07 02:03:50 PM
I dont see many similarities between NewsRadio and Friends.
Content wise and especially actor wise.
 
2005-03-07 02:06:59 PM
I for one am pissed that Arrested Development is going off the air.
 
2005-03-07 02:08:10 PM
I think you're way off, but fair enough. So can you explain to me why you love NewsRadio and hate Friends? Arguably similar writing, both sitcoms.
This sentence explains a lot.

My take is that the office is brilliant because it finds humor in situations that are so tense but we can find ourselves in. Still havent seen the christmas special damn.

Newsradio is underated and Phil Hartman was a genius

Coupling is also brilliant but it loses something without Jeff.

Seinfeld also deserves a whole lot of praise as does early Simpsons.

I need to get bbc america.
 
2005-03-07 02:08:45 PM
As far as Corner Gas is concerned, I'm afriad that while it is pretty funny, you really have to be in tune to the small town "Canadiana" stereotypes to apperciate it.
 
2005-03-07 02:23:59 PM
ekdikeo4

Monty Python, just plain sucks.


You are an idiot.
 
2005-03-07 02:28:28 PM
sean007: "As far as Corner Gas is concerned, I'm afriad that while it is pretty funny, you really have to be in tune to the small town "Canadiana" stereotypes to apperciate it."

It's always interesting seeing how comedy crosses borders. This thread is a pretty good example. Generally, I find that, as long as it is intelligible and the language is largely understood, then comedy can almost invariably make those leaps.

Given that, I don't agree with your assessment of Corner Gas. While it doesn't hurt to have an appreciation for who some of the cameos are, or the particular place that curling, CFL football (especially the Riders in Sask), and hockey play in this country, there's loads there that's just plain-assed funny. For example, you don't have to have lived in a 'Dog River' in your life to appreciate it, either.

I have friends that have told me that there are elements to the Jewish sensibility that won't have truly rung home for me in 'Curb your Enthusiasm' or in Finkleman's George Findlay character in 'The Newsroom'. That may well be true, but I still find those shows funnier than hell.

If you compare it to, say, Mike Meyers' "Wayne's World" characters, you'd find an equally rich mine of Canadiana exposed that seemed to translate quite well for a larger audience. While you and I might appreciate the fact that they played street hockey and hung out eating doughnuts and drinking coffee at "Stan Mikita's" on a different level, that didn't make that movie any less funny for American audiences.
 
2005-03-07 02:31:32 PM
"Special-"
"Needs?"
"Special-"
"Needs child?"

I love The Office.
 
2005-03-07 02:46:00 PM
I think you're way off, but fair enough. So can you explain to me why you love NewsRadio and hate Friends? Arguably similar writing, both sitcoms.


This sentence explains a lot.


Yet yours explains nothing. Really, someone give me an example of where the writing on Newsradio is that much more brilliant than the writing on Friends. or some other major difference that is appreciable.

I'm a fan of both shows, and for some strange reason, I'm defending Friends from the undeserved bashing.

Friends, for all it's faults, had solid, witty writing. The episode where they have a trivia contest to determine who wins the apartment was funny, sharp, and could be studied by writing classes.

I suspect if the this thread was up a decade ago, it would be Cheers that would be taking the beating, or The Cosby Show. People love to hate Success.
 
2005-03-07 02:48:11 PM


"There was a block in your toilet, Dave. But I fixed it now...."
 
2005-03-07 02:49:00 PM
Hebalo, I think the difference isn't in the writing, but in the characters themselves. On "Friends" they had little depth to them.

And again, I don't think Newsradio's characters were endless wells of depth. In fact, Newsradio would be more likely to alter a character's motives/beliefs if it served a joke than Friends would.
 
2005-03-07 03:32:35 PM
Unyon

You are probably right, it's just that all my Quebecios and American friends don't find it funny in the slightest.

Hebalo

I don't really care about character consistency, Newsradio was hilarious plain and simple. I think alot of the problems I had with friends has to do with the acting as opposed to the actual writing. Newsradio had top notch actors while the cast of friends are dramatically challenged.
 
2005-03-07 03:39:20 PM
HippyTreeHugger:

Fawlt towers waldorf salad ep is the best sitcom ep ever.

"u started it"
"no we didnt, u invaded poland."


That quote isn't from the Waldorf Salad Episode, BTW....
 
2005-03-07 03:42:47 PM
I think the difference isn't in the writing, but in the characters themselves. On "Friends" they had little depth to them.

I think when Friends started it had potential but then they wrecked it by driving the characters into very predictable, bland cliches. Monica became nothing more than a neurotic neat freak; Ross-the guy who gets divorced a lot and has troble with women; Joey the idiot actor, Chandler the Goofy guy. ...I can't really describe what I mean but you can see a CLEAR difference between the charcters on a first or second season rerun and the way they all got at the end of the show...

/putting way too much thought into a show I only saw in the first place because of my wife...
 
2005-03-07 03:42:51 PM
BTW, "Coupling" is produced by a husband (writer) - and - wife (producer) team. Sue Vertue's mother Beryl was the BBC television producer who in the 70s brokered most of the translation deals to have "Till Death Do Us Part" --> "All in the Family," "Steptoe and Son" --> "Sanford and Son," etc.

As far as the whole Friends v. NewsRadio thing is concerned, what they had in common was the city they were set in, the network they ran on, and most of the characters being single/crossing from 20s to 30s.

Friends was conceived with an intentional series of arcs built into it and a team of writers who like that sort of thing. An easy switch back and forth between soap opera and situation.

NewsRadio, WKRP, Just Shoot Me, and other small-cast workplace sitcoms were designed to NOT have continuing storylines, no character development, etc. Stock types dating back to commedia dell'arte: the oafish boss, the bombshell/slut, the wimp/nerd, the wide-eyed idealistic girl (heroine), the horny wisecracking best friend (sidekick), the earnest but awkward young man (hero)... With a formula like that situation is the only thing you have to work, and a capable cast will play that concerto beautifully. One cast member leaves and the entire thing is jeopardized. Just like NewsRadio.

Seinfeld stole from a little of both: friends who are stock characters but no character development whatsoever. I didn't like it because the situations were more annoying than funny and the characters weren't interesting enough to make me give a shiate.
 
2005-03-07 03:56:34 PM
Family Ties will eat Friends! and yet family ties still didnt make my list. i would put it after carson and conan someplace after my top ten. and friends still would break 50 i mean drew carey is funnier that .ASS. The only reason to tune into friends is to see anniston's nipples
 
2005-03-07 04:07:37 PM
droogmilk: I hate to be a dick about this, but MONTY PYTHON IS NOT A SITCOM.


what? Situational comedy. In which comedy is derived from the output of a situation. You're a tool if you don't think Python was a sitcom.

Just because it doesn't look like every other sitcom today doesnt' mean it wasn't a sitcom. And remember, Python was out BEFORE all these other lame shows.

If that's your rational, then remove Black Adder from the list as well. Guess all "your" sitcoms have to take place in one room where everyone sits on couches...boring.

/a bit irked
 
2005-03-07 04:07:38 PM
I think there's a little too much hating going on about Friends. It wasn't genius, but there was some genuinely funny stuff in it, mostly in the first few seasons.

My personal favorite, Chandler hides Joey's clothes, so Joey warns he'll do the opposite. 5 minutes later, he walks in wearing all of Chandler's clothes. "Hey, I'm Chandler, could I BE wearing any more clothes?"

If you didn't laugh at that, I pity you.

Lest we forget (though I've never seen it), I believe Coupling was originally a BBC attempt to re-do Friends, much like Friends was a younger-skewed version of Seinfeld when it started.
 
2005-03-07 04:10:26 PM
Anyone interested in British comedy should visit the following websites. Excellent guides...

Phill.co.uk

Sitcom.co.uk

BBC.co.uk/comedy/guide
 
2005-03-07 04:13:30 PM
what? Situational comedy. In which comedy is derived from the output of a situation. You're a tool if you don't think Python was a sitcom.

Just because it doesn't look like every other sitcom today doesnt' mean it wasn't a sitcom. And remember, Python was out BEFORE all these other lame shows.


Python was certainly NOT a sitcom, at least in the commonly used definition, in which there is a firmly established Situation, and the comedy is built upon the characters and events that happen to them. If Python featured the same characters in every sketch, it would be closer.

Python would be considered a sketch comedy show, a la SNL, SCTV, A bit of Fry & Laurie, MAD TV, et al.

The sitcom was firmly established well before Python hit the air.
 
2005-03-07 04:14:46 PM
BluesFan77:

I think when Friends started it had potential but then they wrecked it by driving the characters into very predictable, bland cliches. Monica became nothing more than a neurotic neat freak; Ross-the guy who gets divorced a lot and has troble with women; Joey the idiot actor, Chandler the Goofy guy. ...I can't really describe what I mean but you can see a CLEAR difference between the charcters on a first or second season rerun and the way they all got at the end of the show...

I remember watching highlights of the cast of Friends talking about their characters and the same thing with Coupling. What catches me is the fact that most of the cast of Coupling came from dramatic theatre and were open about talking about the aspects of their characters they thought were genuinely tragic, and the razor dance of balancing the tragic with the humorous. Jane isn't likeable but she is interesting.

The cast of Friends came a lot less seasoned, and American networks lean *VERY* heavily on sitcom writers to make everyone sympathetic. The producers of "Married With Children" shopped the pilot to NBC first because they had sold their last sitcom ("It's Your Move") there, and the network honchos told them that it was great, except that Al needed to love his wife more, Kelly needed to be less slutty, etc. They stormed out and when Fox showed interest the producers made it a condition the characters couldn't be diluted.

Also, British sitcoms are (more or less) written and shot as written. American sitcoms done before live audiences are shot twice: once before the first audience, followed by a gap in which producers and network suits watch the tape, herd the writers into a room and tell them to insert new jokes here and remove some there so there's a mathematical proportion of jokes to minutes -- and they have ninety minutes to do it before the next audience arrives. The actors get hastily rewritten scripts and/or read the changes off the TelePrompTer. The episode *you* see is spliced from bits and pieces of both performances.

The real reason we have a soundtrack on sitcoms shot live? They cover the abrupt changes in audience sounds between the splices.
 
2005-03-07 04:16:55 PM
gnosis, congrats on completely missing my point. I was remarking that Cleese's humor was very obviously barbed, and I used a retort letter as an example of the opposite, wondering if Cleese would find a sneering exploitation of British stereotypes as funny as American ones. Pull your head out.
 
2005-03-07 04:20:50 PM
WONDERFALLS


/British
//Thank God for Bittorrent
///Just bought all 13 episodes on DVD
////Thank God for multiregion DVD players
 
2005-03-07 04:28:23 PM
Durendal:

I was remarking that Cleese's humor was very obviously barbed,

Not. His. Letter.

John Cleese made an appearance in 1997 on the Letterman show where he was asked the difference between the British and Americans. He said:

"1. We speak English, you don't.
2. When we hold a world tournament, we actually invite teams from other countries.
3. When we meet the head of state, we only get down on ONE knee."

That's it. Everyone laughed. People misremember the BBC letter as being Cleese's because it has some superficial resemblance. Sort of how Kurt Vonnegut got stuck with the authorship of "It's Okay To Wear Sunscreen."
 
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